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The Proudly Filthy ‘Beetlejuice’ Is A Transcendent Film-To-Musical Adaptation

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Ben Franklin famously wrote that only death and taxes are certain. In the grand scheme of biological history, the latter is a recent development. Most organisms—shrubs, cats, billionaires—have managed to happily avoid them. Death, on the other hand, greeted our earliest single-celled ancestor and will whisk away the very last cockroach. This stubborn fact is the premise of a gleefully ribald new musical, based on Tim Burton’s immortal sophomore film.

Regular theatergoers have good reason to be dubious of screen-to-stage translations. For every supernova (Hairspray, The Producers, Billy Elliot), there’s a corresponding black hole (Carrie, Big, Footloose). Elaborate adaptations are, for the most part, vehicles for nostalgia. They’re often little more than proven commodities, known brands. In most cases, the original movie outshines its theatrical byproduct. Why would anyone pay triple digits for a live experience when a better one awaits, with cheap microwave popcorn, in the living room?

Perhaps because the best translations aren’t mere rehashes draped in spectacle. Sometimes a show deepens its source material, something akin to a philosophical reboot, one that also pays homage to a beloved film. The Broadway-bound production currently haunting the National Theatre comes tantalizingly close to such transcendence. It’s called Beetlejuice. Beetlejuice? Beetlejuice.

Having seen the show twice, I still conjure its titular demon, despite many reservations. I first experienced this highly polished extravaganza during previews. Full disclosure: I gaped at its showstoppers, laughed a lot, and cried here and there. I didn’t recognize a difference two weeks later on opening night, beside my less-enthusiastic reaction, which was more intellectual than emotional: Aha became huh.

The problem here isn’t breadth, but depth. On the surface, Beetlejuice is exactly what you think you want. Director Alex Timbers delivers the phantasmagorical goods. With help from David Korins’ stunning sets, Ken Posner’s metamorphic lighting, and Michael Curry and Jeremy Chernick’s extraordinary puppetry and special effects, Beetlejuice is brought to vivid life. Danny Elfman’s classic score is evoked, with more than just a wink, as we find our seats before the curtain opens and during intermission.

The story matches its setting: slightly askew but recognizable. Beetlejuice (Alex Brightman, a foul-mouthed, pansexual Puck) graduates from Michael Keaton’s supporting role to a Cabaret-like emcee who’s omnipresent, both an observer and a participant. The show begins with a funeral ripped from the pages of Edward Gorey, with a glib opening number called “The Whole Being Dead Thing.” Love him or hate him, Beetlejuice is the embodiment of a gravelly, Apatovian bro. Sex dominates his brain, and his mind is pure id.

Lydia (the spectacular Sophia Anne Caruso) is still deep in mourning for her late mother (which she translates to song in the Avril Lavigne-inspired “Dead Mom”). She eventually befriends a pair of square ghosts (Kerry Butler and Rob McClure) stuck in afterlife stasis. Her patrician father (Adam Dannheisser) and his New Age companion (Leslie Kritzer, fabulous here) invade and remake a quaint dwelling outside of New York City formerly owned by the ghosts, who are not too thrilled to find themselves replaced in their own home. Like Burton’s film, Beetlejuice becomes a tale of exorcism, of the living from a place of the dead.

If Eddie Perfect (music and lyrics) and Scott Brown and Anthony King (who co-wrote the book) studied a holy text, it wasn’t the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, but The Book of Mormon. Beetlejuice is proudly filthy, and at times genuinely heartbreaking. But the only songs that are hummable have existed for decades. The proof is in the bathroom. During intermission, the guys around me were whistling Harry Belafonte. And yet, once it moves to Broadway, this version of Beetlejuice will live to see another day: oh, no doubt.

Beetlejuice runs at the National Theatre through Nov. 18, tickets $54-$114. Runtime about 2 hours and 40 minutes with intermission.

The post The Proudly Filthy ‘Beetlejuice’ Is A Transcendent Film-To-Musical Adaptation appeared first on DCist.

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CallMeWilliam
14 days ago
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We were singing COME MR TALLYMAN TALLY ME BANANAS for hours afterwards, but none of the music omusical.
diannemharris
14 days ago
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StarKist Pleads Guilty To Price Fixing In Alleged Collusion In Canned Tuna Industry

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A StarKist brand product is seen on a grocery store shelf. Authorities say StarKist has agreed to plead guilty to price fixing as part of a broad collusion investigation of the industry.

Three companies — StarKist, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee — are accused by the government of conspiring to keep their canned tuna prices high.

(Image credit: Lisa Poole/AP)

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CallMeWilliam
29 days ago
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diannemharris
29 days ago
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1 public comment
fxer
31 days ago
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COLLUSION FOUND, Russian ass looking Charlie Tuna
Bend, Oregon

Tax Revenue Is Meaningless

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Let’s conduct a thought experiment. Imagine that the government is a black box whose internal workings are completely opaque to us. We know that this black box can add money to the economy through spending or remove money from the economy through taxation. But we have no idea why the government is administering fiscal policy (spending and taxing) the way it is. This thought experiment allows us to consider the effects of fiscal policy without becoming distracted by its underlying politics.
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CallMeWilliam
40 days ago
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Dianne: Is this crazy?
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Go Register to Vote

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If you’re not yet registered to vote in America’s mid-term elections, there’s still time. This helpful post breaks down what you need to do in all 50 states.

Every election is important, but this one is even more critical than most. I urge you to get registered, then get to the polls on November 6th. Vote like the fate of the country depends on it, because it just might.

Link: https://www.theroot.com/make-this-go-viral-the-voter-registration-deadline-for-1829462310

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CallMeWilliam
44 days ago
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diannemharris
45 days ago
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“They’re Remorseful” vs. “He Was No Angel”

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This is how the criminal justice system functions:

Zachary Costin and Andrew Ward, both then 22, went to Colorado and bought 18 pounds of pot from an illegal grower. They hired another 22-year-old man to bring it back to Kentucky. Police say the man had done the same thing for them twice before. Police in Colorado later found and seized a large amount of marijuana, hashish, money and documents linked to Costin.

This time, though, the “mule” was stopped for speeding in Kansas, where police found and seized the marijuana. He was allowed to continue on to Lexington in return for cooperating with a police investigation. The man told Costin, Ward and Ethan Hatfield, 21, what had happened in Kansas and that he was cooperating with police. Hatfield, whose family has been associated with Rod Hatfield Chevrolet, and Costin were then fraternity brothers in UK’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon.

Costin asked the man to come to Hatfield’s home, a mansion valued at $2.5 million in McAtee Run, a gated subdivision off Tates Creek Road. He was led to the basement where Hatfield and Costin were accompanied by John Nathaniel “Porky” Cooper, 36, who introduced himself as the “person hired to kill you.”

They forced the man to take off all his clothes and snort a Xanax pill. For the next two hours, he was held against his will and tortured with a hammer, pliers and an AR-15 rifle stock. He told police the men also pointed handguns and a shotgun at him. After he agreed to pay them $45,000, he was allowed to shower and leave the house naked, but the men took his Armani watch, wallet and cell phone.

Cooper, Costin and Hatfield were indicted in April 2017 on kidnapping, robbery and assault charges. Costin and Ward were indicted on a charge of criminal conspiracy to traffic in more than five pounds of marijuana. But those charges were amended down, and the defendants pleaded guilty: Cooper, Costin and Hatfield to unlawful imprisonment, theft by unlawful taking and misdemeanor assault. Costin and Ward also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic 8 ounces to 5 pounds of marijuana.

Fayette Circuit Judge Thomas Travis in May sentenced Costin to seven years, Cooper and Hatfield to five years and Ward to two years in prison. But between Aug. 7 and Sept. 10, Travis granted all four men “shock probation” — releasing them from jail in return for 15 hours of community service each year for five years.

Travis’ decision, which prosecutors didn’t oppose, came after defense attorneys filed papers saying their clients were remorseful, that they wanted to continue their education, return to their families. They claimed there was little chance the four young men would commit another crime.

Kentucky is one of a few states that allows shock probation. The idea is to give a second chance to offenders who might be “shocked” straight by a short stay behind bars.

The state, of course, keeps no statistics on the demographics of offenders who might be “shocked” straight.

Let’s also be clear; I doubt that a short stay behind bars can “shock” the stupid out of you.  Their co-conspirator did the stand-up thing of informing them that he was working with the police before they imprisoned him in the basement of the suburban mansion. Then they torture him, rob him, and let him go?  Did they think that without his cellphone he wouldn’t be able to get in contact with the cops?

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CallMeWilliam
57 days ago
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diannemharris
57 days ago
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tubaterry: https://twitter.com/CriminelleLaw/status/1037511306906099712 Reminds me of my mom...

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tubaterry:

https://twitter.com/CriminelleLaw/status/1037511306906099712

Reminds me of my mom getting remarried several years ago, for about a weekend - dude waited until after the wedding to tell her he expected her at waiting at home with dinner waiting when he finished work.

I dunno, like I get that this version of manhood is “normal” but goddamn is it the most brittle, contemptable fuckin thing

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CallMeWilliam
59 days ago
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We maintain a healthy competition on income and assets. I'm currently winning on income (hooray), and losing on assets (boo, debt). This competition means we strive for better paying jobs. That we love each other means we support each other in leaving bad jobs.
benzado
61 days ago
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It is useful for young men who think these things to read these reactions before they get too old to rethink them.
New York, NY (40.785018,-73.97
duerig
60 days ago
I don't know what is worse. The idea that your partner is somebody you are in competition with and whose strength intimidates rather than empowers you. Or the idea that 'teacher' and 'nurse', two highly-credentialed and highly intellectual disciplines are somehow non-intimidating because the practitioners don't 'think so much'. If any man confides this kind of feeling in a partner, it should be in the context of confessing a personal problem that they want to fix in themselves. This is just gobsmacking that it could be a normal reaction to wish that your partner wasn't successful.
diannemharris
60 days ago
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